Hot Flashes And Insomnia Causes More than Lack of Sleep

Hot flashes (HF) bother sleep and lead menopausal women to have less restorative sleep. Insomnia from hot flashes can cause delayed time to sleep or night time awakening. Once you have poor sleep you are likely to report other symptoms of lack of sleep including: daytime fatigue or feeling poorly, lack of concentration or memory impairment, poor performance at work, irritability, day time sleepiness, lack of motivation, headaches or even stomach or bowel upset. Simple sleep deprivation doesn't usually cause distress, and is better tolerated, than sleep lost to actual insomnia. Most, but not all, sleep studies have shown that women with hot flashes get poor sleep. We get the most hot flashes in the first part of the night, and there is some relationship between when the flash occurs and when you will wake up. Sleep therefore, is essential for your immune system, your hormonal health, your moods, thinking and your weight! The more bothersome to you the more likely the HF will be bothersome to your sleep. Moderately to severe HF was independently associated in a graded manner with severity of insomnia symptoms and objected measures of night time wakefulness and sleep fragmentation. In less scientific terms, just to repeat, sleep disruption is the cause of poor sleep and hot flashes disrupt sleep. Two lab studies showed no problem with sleep in symptomatic menopausal women, and it is possible the sleep disorders should not be attributed to menopause in every case, but other disorders. Actually the sleep disturbances in some studies was followed by a HF. So poor sleep actually made menopause and the hot flashes worse! Not too many studies need to be done, sleep lab studies are not usually necessary. Getting hormonal levels to confirm menopause may be helpful, and morning cortisol is often high due to the hyperarousal state insomnia cause. Both blood and saliva cortisol testing may be disordered. There is lots to gab with your gyno about. Treatments that work to reduce night time awakening due to hot flashes include : estrogen: the most helpful with about 60-80% improvement in sleep, progesterone, 8% improvement, escitalopram 5-% improvement, exercise. The type of hormone therapy whether bioidentical or synthetic estrogen has not been shown to be better one way or the other for sleep improvement. Women who are the most fit have the best sleep and morning exercisers less difficulty with their sleep. Other treatments that have worked for hot flash treatment includes gabapentin, pregabalin, paroxetine, citalopram, fluoxetine and sertraline. These treatments improve sleep they all reduce hot flashes by about 60% although the sleep improvements, like those treatments already mentioned, are more modest.


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